Hunting for the country’s best bull calves


CRV Ambreed is on the market for New Zealand’s best bull calves that will produce the next generation of high-performing dairy cows

With calving now underway, CRV Ambreed breeding manager Aaron Parker says it’s time for farmers to get in touch with the herd improvement company if they have a top-notch bull calf in the paddock.

CRV

"Year-on-year we’re carefully building a portfolio of genetics to suit a broad range of environments, conditions, and farming systems to ensure New Zealand’s dairy industry is successful well into the future," Parker says.

"If a bull is nominated for our breeding programme and is successful, it’s a lucrative source of income. The farmer becomes part of an influential group of breeders contributing to genetic diversity and the overall advancement of New Zealand’s national herd."

If a bull calf is selected for CRV Ambreed’s sire-providing programme, farmers have two options to sell their bull: $1250 + GST, plus a royalty of five percent of the gross amount of the bull’s semen sales received by CRV Ambreed, excluding semen sold for progeny test, or $4000 + GST purchase price, $2000 + GST additional payment if the bull is an InSire graduate, and $5000 + GST additional payment if the bull is a proven graduate.

An additional $500 + GST bonus payment is awarded if the bull results from an embryo transfer, and $1000 + GST bonus is awarded if the bull is ranked in the top one percent
in New Zealand for New Zealand Merit Index (NZMI).

Parker says elite bull calves are usually sourced through CRV Ambreed’s contract mating programme. But it is through the yearly contract-free bull calf nomination process where more unique bulls are discovered.

What CRV looks for in a bull

"We look for bulls whose daughters will be efficient producers and easy to manage for farmers. ‘Outcross’ or uncommon bloodlines are also preferred."

Southland farmer owners Lyall and Jan Hopcroft and contract milkers Nick Templer and Anieka Venekamp decided to try their luck in 2015 with a son of one of their favourite cows, Jassie.

Anieka Venekamp said Jassie was only three years old when she had son Jasper, but she remembered Jassie as a heifer and she had an outstanding udder and temperament.

"She would catch my eye every time I was in the paddock. Then when her herd test results came in, we knew we were definitely onto a winner," Venekamp says.

"We breed for udder, protein, temperament, and capacity and she ticked all the boxes. She was the cow I was really hoping to get a heifer out of, so when Jasper was born, I thought I would try him with CRV."

She says they have five cows lined up this calving season and will nominate their calves if they are bulls.

Parker says CRV Ambreed is always keen to chat with farmers who haven’t nominated a bull calf before.

"Even if one of your top breeding cows is in-calf for another breeding company, let us know about it so we can consider the genetic value and let you know if we are interested. We might be keen to genotype a bull calf, even if we know we don’t have the first option," he says.

Nominate your bull calf by calling 0800 262 733 or completing the online form at crv4all.co.nz/bullcalves.

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